Soleil Moon Frye was a cute kid who grew into an attractive woman … if only the same could be said for her career. Soleil starred as Punky Brewster beginning in 1984, when NBC aired the sitcom on Sundays. Because the show had many young viewers, six fifteen-minute episodes were produced. Many memorable episodes and storylines took place during the second season, which built up the show’s popularity among young viewers. The most crucial development of the second season began on the February 2, 1986 episode. It was the first installment of a five-part storyline. Occasionally celebrities appeared on the program including the late Andy Gibb (he wasn’t dead at the time) who guest-starred twice on PB. The show was in production throughout the 1986-87 season.
video: Punky Brewster’s First Scenes
Beginning on the 1986 premiere date, Punky appeared once every weekday (usually late in the afternoon on local stations). The entire third 1987 season aired in the five-days-a-week format. Reruns of the third season took over on weekdays, while the episodes shot during the 1987-88 season were completed. Reruns. Oh dear. Never a good sign. New episodes resumed for the fourth season, and ran every weekday for only a month (ouch) until the series finale in 1988. Punky’s day had come and gone. Soleil made brief guest appearances on a handful of tv shows such as The Wonder Years. video: Soleil Moon Frye 2001 Interview
It’s Punky Brewster!, an animated spin-off appeared on NBC on Saturday mornings. It ran a total of 26 episodes. However, through reruns, (there’s that curse again), it remained in the regular Saturday-morning lineup through the 1988-89 season. That’s when Soleil’s career took a nosedive from which it refused to recover for at least eight years (possibly ten). Ouch. In a bid to restart her career Soleil posed for Playboy and appeared in other mens’ magazines such as Maxim. Smart move. She soon found herself on the sitcom Sabrina The Teenage Witch, which ran for a successful eight seasons. Cool. Alas, Soleil seems to have hit a forced hiatus from television. So far as I know she hasn’t had a reglar role on a sitcom in seven years.
Comeback Grade: S for Stop kidding yourself. It’s over.
Soleil’s Facebook Page: 94,818 most of them male I’m sure